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                 Collecting: A Family Affair
                       By Robert Rice

     When I first brought up the idea of a family collecting
trip\vacation my wife rolled her eyes at me in that oh no
not again way and said "I'll think about it ".You see I have
a 3 year old daughter, a wife , and a 130 pound Rottwieller
named Magnus and last but not least a 85 Toyota Tercel
hatchback. So the logistics of fitting all the
aforementioned living things along with our clothes and my
collecting weapons seemed a little far fetched. As usual
though, I did not let that stop me , I dug out maps of the
Missouri Ozarks and began to scheme. My goal the Cardinal
shiner or its cousin the Bleeding shiner.
     After some serious thought I came up with a plan. If I
could somehow tie this together with a day of trout fishing
I was sure everyone would agree. So i made my move ,"Honey I
said You know we ought to go trout fishing since we are so
close to the Ozarks now" Suddenly a strike "Hmmm trout
fishing in the Ozarks I've never trout fished before that
sounds kinda fun lets go....." at last my carefully laid
trap was sprung and  the trip was on.
     Then as luck would have it came the most ingenious
twist in my plan. My n'er do well brother in law kept
hinting we should go trout fishing .So I said sure, by the
way do you still have your old station wagon? With that a
home was found for my collecting gear and the date was set.
     After a little research it was decided that Bennett
Spring State Park would be our base of operations and to
satisfy the wife a cabin was rented for the week .Now we
were in business.
     So the big day came the wife , the kid, and the big Dog
were all folded carefully into my little car and we rattled
and hummed the 4 hours to Bennett Spring State Park. Just as
we settled into our cabin my brother in laws death wagon
with its GM primer peeled paint job came lumbering in to let
us know they were camping just down the road.As luck would
have it my brother in Law also noticed our cabin had a full
kitchen and he  began checking out the food. I'm sure making
mental notes on his menu choices. So after we fed everyone
we made the trip into the state park and to the hatchery. I
met a DNR Biologist and we talked for awhile  about native
fish.He seemed to only want to talk about trout (surprise).
Did you know that we put in 2.25 trout for every tag sold
the previous day? He told my wife with a smile?
She was surprised," You mean all the fish come from here ?"
Yep he said with pride . Most of the onlookers were very
impressed I on the other hand was slightly nauseated.
     On the drive back to the cabin my wife said ."So
fishing here is like Amusement Park fishing anyone can catch
a fish if they pay for it heck you should just fish in the
     "Yep afraid so." .......she shook her head in
     Since we were supposed to be here on a trout fishing
trip we planned our fishing trip tomorrow would be the trout
day , the day after the hiking day (really scout for fish)
and the last day would be our relax day before heading home
(really collection day). So just before bed I plunked down
the 35 $ for everyone's fishing licenses trout tags etc.
then dozed off to bed.
     I awoke at 5 a.m. left everyone else sleeping and went
to the head of the spring and waited ,it was beautiful. I
saw the sun rise , the smell of the crisp air was
invigorating as it mingled with the spring water. I watched
and took mental notes as I had set myself a 1 hour time
limit on these Amusement park fish. Eventually a few other
fishermen made it in time for the starting whistle and we
were off. In typical park fashion about half the people had
strikes their first cast and in the course of my hour I
caught several trout keeping 4 large ones for the table that
     I made it back to the cabin around 7:30 a.m. just in
time for my brother in law to make it over for breakfast. It
was agreed that today should be trout day and everyone
should take their try at this amusement park fishing! So I
spent the day changing lures and offering tidbits of advice
to my wife and child as they tried their hand at trout
fishing .As it turned out my daughter caught the big fish
for the afternoon and made  the trip a success it really was
a great day.
     That evening we poured over maps and decided Rubiduox
creek outside of Waynesville in Pulaski County provided the
best opportunity to collect. After we had finalized plans we
watched the evening news with some chagrin as they announced
a cold front was screaming in from the north and in 48 hours
it was gonna be a Noah type day.So instead of 1 day scouting
and 1 collecting we were now down to 1 day collecting.
     We left at 7 a.m. and arrived on site at 9 a.m. to say
this was an extraordinary site would be an understatement
.It is attached to a city park with a playground and all the
stuff to keep kids happy . Then there is a winding 200 yard
gravel bar that leads to the secluded creek. Its waters are
a mix of spring and river waters and support a brown trout
population which the locals protect with vigor.As a matter
of fact they have designated much of the creek as catch and
release trophy trout waters.
     As I approached the bank darters scurried in all
directions and I began to foam at the mouth. Within a few
moments we had pulled out the seine and begun to make a pass
with my dog taking the role of the beater driving the fish
to our nets. The creek itself is about 15 feet wide with the
first two thirds being a gentle slope that drops of at the
base of a limestone shelf where it gains it's maximum depth
of @ 6'. We were working the first two thirds in about 3
feet of water over gravel riffles in a moderately fast
stream with a measured water temp of 61 F.The air temp was
mid 80's and about perfect.
   When we pulled our first seine up my brother in law
gasped it was literally filled with 3-4 inch silvery fish
with red heads. We had found the bleeding shiner! We now had
a new problem what do you do when your first seine full
fills all your storage buckets!
     Well within 30 minutes we were no longer collecting but
were identifying and packing. We found the predominate
minnow to be the Bleeding Shiner (Luxilus zonatus), other
species included Plains Top minnow ( Fundulus sciadicus),
the Central Longear Sunfish (Lepomis Megalotis) and a
variety of sculpins that were released. We also found
Orangethroat Darters  (Etheostoma spectabile ) in abundance.
     After several detours we took our catch home they
seemed to be fine but within 48 hours the bleeding shiners
began to show fungus that resisted treatment with CLOUT and
over 80% died within 10 days. A very frustrating end to our
trip and I hope the launching point of better follow up care
of captured species. Those that survived are doing excellent
feeding well on frozen brine shrimp and blood worms and have
really livened up the 55 gallon tank they inhabit.
     Overall the trip was a big success and my Wife calls it
our best vacation ever .We plan on doing a repeat in the
spring of 1995 until then good-bye and good fishing!
     All material within this document is copyrighted to the
author Robert Rice unless otherwise noted. 
  If you are interested further in Native fish I  recommend you 
  check into the following resources Peterson's Field Guide to North 
  American Fishes by Larry M. Page o
  If you would like to reach me 
  my snail mail address is 2213 Prytania Circle Navarre Florida 32566.

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